Friday, 30 January 2015

Recycled Rootrainers

With my last seed order, I ordered what I thought were Root Trainers, reusable long thin plastic containers, hinged in the middle to release their deep rooted contents when the time comes to plant out.  These were to be  a special treat for my sweet pea seeds, which are usually left to find their way, planted 3 seeds to a 10cm plant pot.

But when my root trainers arrived, they weren't quite what I thought they were going to be:  my mistake entirely for not reading the catalogue carefully enough.  They weren't the reusable plastic versions that I'd imagined, but instead were a kind of rough, semi-durable material, formed into cylinders.  They'll still do the job for which they were intended in a most splendid fashion - and the seeds will be delighted at the lack of root disturbance which their new homes will  guarantee as the whole thing can just be planted into the ground where it will gently biodegrade as the seedlings grow and prosper.

Which is all very fine, but these new purchases have set me off on a new collection with which to annoy my family.  (The younger members roll their eyes at my nests of old china teacups and pressed glass vases - blind to their own heaps of childhood jumble which creep from room to room until their progress is checked).  But at least my new collection is guaranteed to be short-lived.  For my new passion is  loo rolls.  Or more specifically  the cardboard tubes from the middle of toilet paper.  These will do exactly the same job for me as my specially purchased cylinders - their only drawback being that the cardboard does tend to get a bit squishy and rather alarmingly 'hairy' as they sit in the greenhouse whilst germinating their resident seeds.  My way to combat this is to use them for later plantings in March which will spend less time in the greenhouse and be moved relatively quickly into the ground.

I'll treat them the same way as my 'posh' planting cylinders - put them in a tray lined with green, felty, capillary matting to keep the open bottoms of the cylinders moist and to allow them to take up the water they need.
Recycled containers for sweet peas

And it will be interesting to see how many loo rolls we get through between now and March….


  1. tubes made of newspaper do a similar job, especially if you have one of those nifty little gadgets for making sturdy ones (I have a spare if you would like it!) (Liz)

  2. Thanks Liz - I've got a short one which is good for making those jiffy-pellet sized ones, but nothing longer than that. I may see you at the plot on Sunday morning for coffee, all being well as I ferry more cardboard and muck down to supress the weeds!!

  3. Loo roll inners are great for lots of types of seeds. Also kitchen roll tubes cut in half. I have a massive collection of them in the shed. I'd better get sowing seeds soon!

    1. Don't get sowing too soon! (apart from Sweet Peas). I read on Plantpassion blog that after 15th Feb is the earliest time for reasonable sowings as that's when the light levels start to rise a little as the days start to lengthen. I held off most sowings until mid March last year, and it was much easier to deal with my seedlings as they were able to go out into the garden when they reached the sturdy stage - rather than having to lurk about on windowledges and anywhere which could offer protection, getting leggier and leggier. Later sowings often do just as well - which is why I'm collecting millions of loo rolls for my March sweet peas. Will be interesting to see if Dec and Jan sowing actually flower any earlier than those sown in spring. Will let you know!!